Yesterday afternoon, I had an epiphany of sorts. I had been called out to St. John to anoint a parishioner who was actively dying. I will be celebrating his Funeral Mass on Saturday. On my way back to Munster, I found myself becoming agitated at the number of cars on the road and the number of people at all types of businesses. It appeared to me that no one was taking the call to self isolate seriously.
As I was thinking those thoughts, I heard the report about our president stating that this crisis may well reach into July or August. It was then that I realized what I needed to do.
We have already cancelled all events in our school and our parish for the next couple of months. It was time for me to look at the longer range as our government is indicating.
To that end, I have consulted with my festival chairs and several other individuals and I believe that the only socially responsible thing for the parish to do is to cancel our festival for this June. This decision is necessary to make at this point in time so as to give proper notification to all the different vendors and groups that come to our property.
I am doing this because, if there are still pockets of infection in the country in June, I do not want to provide an arena for people to come from outside of Munster and bring with them any illnesses they may have.
It pains me to do so as our festival has provided entertainment of all variety for hundreds of thousands of people over the years. It has also brought income to the parish that we have used to help the poor and needy. There are many people who would deny that there are needy in our community. I, and the parish’s different committees, could tell you otherwise. We have many people who need help with food, rental assistance, utilities, and other necessities. The parish will have to look at other ways to generate income to provide for the needs of those in our community.
But, as I have said before, the responsible thing to do is to cancel the festival and to encourage everyone to embrace the recommendations of the CDC. Please, for God’s sake, and for the sake of your families and neighbors, remain in place, do not go out unless necessary, and hope that our effort radically slows the progression of COVID-19.
I pray for peace for all in this time of stress, anxiety, and chaos.